On July 22, 2020 via video conference, Chinese speech recognition and AI provider iFlytek inked a deal with the Egyptian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
The goal, to bolster R&D in natural language processing (NLP) and machine translation (MT), particularly in the Egyptian-Arabic and Chinese languages.
The project will be managed through the Ministry of Communications and IT’s Applied Innovation Center (AIC) in Egypt, will last for three years, and will seek to find solutions for translating Egyptian Arabic into Chinese dialects and vice versa, according to a report by online magazine Egypt Today.
The same report said the deal supports the Egyptian government’s plan to rebuild the country and will create 80 new job opportunities for specialists in the fields of linguistics and IT.
Slator previously reported on iFlytek’s USD 400m capital raise from state-owned actors in July 2019, indicating the Chinese government’s commitment and desire to keep a tight rein on AI development.
The government had appointed iFlytek two years prior to spearhead the country’s development in voice intelligence.
As mentioned, language translation did not seem to figure prominently in iFlytek’s capital raise at the time and was not specifically singled out as an area of investment in the company’s Shenzhen Stock Exchange filing.
This new NLP-MT agreement with the Egyptian government, however, indicates that language translation does indeed figure in iFlytek’s plans — as it does in China’s efforts to push into an emerging market through AI.